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India set to counter China’s influence in Lanka- The Economic Times

[MISC, Wednesday, 20 May 2009 08:03 3 Comments]

NEW DELHI: India will tell Sri Lanka that it has a definite interest in helping the island nation take on reconstruction and will be actively engaged in helping Colombo.

This will be the essence of the message that foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon and national security adviser M K Narayanan will give to President Mahinda Rajapaksa when they meet him on Wednesday during a day-long visit, the first after the LTTE was militarily crushed.

With a greater engagement in Sri Lanka, not hampered by the complications of an LTTE presence, India ultimately hopes to counter the growing presence of China in its southern neighbourhood. Over the past few years, China has stepped in as one of Colombo’s largest defence suppliers after India found itself constrained from giving offensive weaponry and other defence assistance to Sri Lanka for the current conflict.

Blog: The Chinese think big, we don’t

Naturally, China took advantage of such an opening to expand its influence, seeking and getting a valuable port, Hambantota, in the Indian Ocean.

The government’s position and its agenda for talks on Wednesday was shared with Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi who visited the PM on Tuesday.

After the heat of the elections, Karunanidhi’s stand on Sri Lanka has been measured, say sources. This will help India expand its role in Lanka in the months and years ahead.

What India will initially be looking for are some quick steps that can be taken by the executive in Colombo, mainly in relief and rehabilitation of the displaced Tamils. India would also be looking for a kind of statement on the future of the Tamils and how Sri Lanka plans to integrate them into the mainstream. Rajapakse did not give a roadmap in his speech to parliament on Tuesday but India will tell him that this would go a long way in getting the international community on his side.

For the present, the international imperative is to assist the Sri Lankans to set up relief and rehabilitation centres for the thousands of displaced persons. India is moving its hospital to Vavuniya and rotating its doctors who have been on duty for over a month now. In addition, India will be sending material for 5,000 shelters which will house about 25,000 people.

[Full Coverage]

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  • Kukoo said:

    A very big thank you to India! You have done enough help to our Tamils already !by sending your troops in1997 to wipe out many of our people and destroy our tamil land and more in the last few months by giving military assisstance that lead to this human catastrophy! Who wants your crocodile tears. We don’t need your corupted half trained doctors…Are you going there to help us or harvest more kidnies and organs from our already injured people in the camps or from the corps of our loved ones?

    We dont need your help.If the Mahindha government allowed international funds to reach our people we expatriate Eala thamilar will build our own land .

  • ramesh said:

    well said kukoo.

  • fdimul said:

    India should be kept out of the internal affairs of Srilanka and so should be China. All helps given by India is to strengthen the military of Srilanka and not for helping the Tamilians.

    All help by European communities for tamilians should be monitored by International communities and help will pour in, once access is given to the helpers.

    India will join hand with Srilanka and genocides will continue secretly.